Sony has released two flagship phones this year. First they showed off the Sony Xperia Z2, a fantastic phone that I reviewed earlier this year. Now the Xperia Z3 is available and promising to be even better. Can it live up to expectations?
See me, feel me
Much like a woman influenced by modern media, phones are always trying to be thinner and sleeker. The Sony Z3 does just that. Weighing in at 152 grams and only 7.3mm thick, the Z3 is a delight to hold in your hand. It has a nice big screen at 5.2″ but is still comfortable to maneuver for daily use.
With metallic bevelled edges and the elimination of some of the Z2’s sharp corners, the Z3 looks completely modern. It has glass finishes on the front and back, making it feel like you’re holding the future. Unfortunately, the future is also incredibly slippery – the phone would often slide around on smooth surfaces or fall off the couch or sink when I was busy with other activities. Luckily, it is more durable that the previous iteration, and its waterproof ability was put to the test, too. I’d still recommend a cover for the device, simply to take away some of the slipperiness.
Live with it
What do you do on your phone on a daily basis? Personally, my time is split between messaging via Whatsapp or text, engaging on social media and occasionally taking pictures and browsing the web. Depending on how much I use my phone, I typically run low or out of battery by the end of the day, just in time for its daily recharge. The Xperia Z3 changes that.
My review unit for the Z3 didn’t come with a phone charger. This meant that I had to share my charger, or connect it directly to my computer to charge. I was worried that this was going to be a real nightmare, but my concern was completely unnecessary. The battery actually lasts for two days. Yes, that’s with the WiFi permanently on, and frequent use of a variety of apps, which I generally forget to close so probably run in the background for that whole time.
This feature alone makes the Z3 an incredible device – I was able to travel, live and do whatever was necessary on my phone without worrying about the battery dying on me. Of course, the closer to empty the battery gets the faster it seems to run out, but it is incredibly liberating to use a phone that doesn’t require a recharge every night.
Similarly impressive is the camera on the Z3. Unlike the Z2, the 20.7 MP camera doesn’t feel slow. Taking pictures is quick and clear with some excellent quality. The front-facing camera is only a 2.2 MP, so the selfies aren’t quite as stellar as the normal pictures, but they are still passable for use on Facebook, twitter or Instagram. There are also a ton of modes and options for the camera built in, so you can take the best possible picture or video for the occasion.
Make it (sn)appy!
The Xperia Z3 comes with all the usual apps you might expect from an Android phone – Gmail, YouTube and all your social media stables. It also comes with the usual Walkman app that Sony so proudly owns and only audiophiles really care about anymore. However, my Z3 also came pre-loaded with the PlayStation app. No, this isn’t bloatware, it works really well. You can do the usual things like claim your PS Plus games for the month or manage your PSN account, but best of all you can link with your PS4. It’s really quite a snap to organize and jump into remote play as necessary.
The Sony version of Android is spectacular – it feels so slick and intuitive. It was easy to set up my front screen to ensure that all my favorite apps were readily accessible and I found everything I wanted quickly and easily. Plus, thanks to a top notch processor, the phone runs ridiculously fast. I never lagged, stuttered or waited for an app to load.
Camera and video
- 20.7 megapixel camera with auto focus
- 8x digital zoom
- ISO 12800 maximum
- Sony Exmor RS for mobile image sensor
- 4K video recording
- Front-facing camera, HD 1080p for video chat and 2.2 MP for camera capture
- Pulsed LED flash
- SteadyShot™ – video stabilisation
- Superior Auto – automatic scene selection
- HDR for photos and videos
- Burst mode
- Social live**
- Image stabiliser
- Geotagging – add location info to your photos
- Object tracking – lock focus on a specific object
- Red-eye reduction
- Image capture, supported file format: JPEG
- Image playback, supported file formats: BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, WebP
- Video capture, supported file formats: 3GPP, MP4
- Video playback, supported file formats: 3GPP, MP4, Matroska, AVI, Xvid, WebM
- GSM GPRS/EDGE (2G)
- UMTS HSPA (3G)
- LTE (4G) (not available in all markets)
Display and design
- 5.2″ Full HD display (1920×1080 pixels)
- TRILUMINOS™ Display for mobile
- X-Reality™ for mobile picture engine
- Snapdragon 2.5 GHz Qualcomm Quad-core
- Adreno 330 GPU
Memory and storage
- 3 GB RAM
- Up to 16 GB flash memory
- Up to 128 GB microSD™ (card slot, SDXC supported)
- Sony 3D Surround Sound technology (VPT)
- Clear Audio+ – Sound improvement software
- xLoud™ Experience
- DSEE HX
- High-res audio
- Audio recording, supported file formats: 3GPP, MP4, AMR
- Audio playback, supported file formats: 3GPP, MP4, ADTS, AMR, DSF, DSDIFF, FLAC, Matroska, SMF, XMF, Mobile XMF, OTA, RTTTL, RTX, iMelody, MP3, WAV, OGG, ASF
- Bluetooth® 4.0 wireless technology
- 3.5 mm audio jack with Digital Noise Cancelling (DNC)
- DLNA Certified®
- Native USB tethering
- Synchronisation via Exchange ActiveSync®, Facebook™, Google™ and SyncML™
- USB High speed 2.0 and Micro USB support
- Wi-Fi® and Wi-Fi Hotspot functionality
- ANT+ wireless technology
Last Updated: December 15, 2014